I’d like to personally comment on the “new skate” theory. Fans must understand that the skates you buy in retail stores or online are not the same skates the pros wear. Custom skates have quite a few differences from their retail brethren because they are made stiffer, lighter and to the player’s personal specifications.
I can attest having purchased a pair of Graf customs via the Northeast NHL Graf representative. The skates can range in stiffness from 1-5. 1 is the off-the-shelf variety and 5 is akin to a ski boot in stiffness. I’m wearing a pair with 3 stiffness which is in the range the pros wear (between 3-5). The better the skater and the more you weigh are the determining factors for the stiffness of the skates. Elite skaters require a stiffer boot in the range of 3-4 because of the more aggressive skating that they are capable of. Without that stiffness, especially in the ankle, while in a turn the skates would most likely touch the ice and cause the skater to wipe out.
The argument I have is that most likely the “new skates” have nothing to do with players going down with groin and hip injuries. It is most likely due to the speed the game has achieved since the Lockout, the size and fitness of the players and the quality of the ice surface that they skate on.
When you put the kind of wear and tear on your body for upwards of 11 months out of the year it’s no surprise that these kinds of injuries (joints, muscle pulls, hips, knees, groin, etc.) will happen.
Also, if you’ve ever been on the ice after a period where a group of 40 men averaging 200lbs each have been skating for a 40 minutes you’ll notice that the ice is pretty torn up and that also has alot to do with injury issues.